Joe Russo is a living legend.  That may seem overstated, but he (along with brother Anthony) has directed the film with the biggest opening weekend in history.  It’s now a race to see how fast the movie will gross $1 billion.

The reason I find this so interesting is I had the chance to meet said legend and he was so down to earth and relate-able that it seemed like they hired a guy to play him.  His favorite bar is George’s in Iowa City, by the way, so come check it out.  For those who know George’s, he made a point of saying the only thing that has changed with the burgers in 25 years is the price.  Something along the lines of a pitcher and a burger for $1.00 back then.  Ah, the good old days.

The picture is grainy and probably not well placed, but some of us are still learning.

Like many “overnight success stories”, Mr. Russo talked about how it took him a good ten years overnight.  He related a chance meeting with Steven Soderbergh that connected them to a rising star in George Clooney that led to some network TV gigs that ultimately brought them into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  Most importantly, he talked about how Professor Jay Holstein shaped the way he thought about thematic storytelling and how to make that story interesting.  Professor Holstein didn’t teach film, but he taught the most popular class at the University of Iowa.  It was a religion class and Mr. Russo points to his experience with Prof. Holstein as the reason he was able to make Infinity War.  High praise.

Russo’s ability to tell a story and create three dimensional characters is what has made his films so successful.  The best part of these movies is the depth of the characters you are cheering for or against, not the CGI and million dollar special effects.  And the best part of this revelation is that we don’t need Disney budgets to create our own epic.  Many thanks to Joe and the folks at Film Scene for making some nerd dreams come true.

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